Economy

Ministry break-in: RIL, Reliance ADAG, Essar, Cairn officials arrested

Our Bureau Agencies New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on February 20, 2015

espionage

Coal/power ministry papers, Budget 2015-16 inputs also recovered by Delhi Police

Late on Friday evening, Delhi Police arrested five persons in connection with a “corporate espionage” case involving classified information from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

They were reported to be executives from Reliance Industries, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Essar, Cairn India and Jubilant Energy.

Earlier in the day, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had arrested two energy consultants. “We have arrested Prayas Jain and Shantanu Saikia in this connection. Both of them are energy consultants who received stolen documents,” the police said. On Thursday, five people, including two Petroleum Ministry staff members, were held after a trap was laid in Shastri Bhawan.

While Saikia, a former journalist, runs an energy portal, Jain runs a consultancy firm. Police did not elaborate on the roles played by the two, but sources said Saikia was being seen as a “buffer” between the companies that wanted access to the documents and the men in the ministry who carried out the job. 

According to some reports, the police also indicated that the papers recovered from the consultants included some “sensitive” documents pertaining to other ministries, such as Coal, Power, as also inputs meant for the Finance Minister’s Budget 2015-16 speech.

All seven accused were on Friday produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal, who remanded four of them to police custody until February 23. Sources said more arrests are likely.

During the hearing, the counsel for Saikia told the court that his client is a journalist and that the documents were related to his profession, a PTI report said.

The defence counsel contended that the police would have to first show how these documents were classified.

On Thursday, an RIL spokesperson said the company had been informed that one of its staffers had been detained and that it would conduct a probe.

Reliance Power spokesperson said: "We are not aware of the circumstances in which one of our junior employees has allegedly been arrested. We will ensure full cooperation with the investigative agencies. The company adheres to the highest standards of corporate governance, and does not support any unlawful practices."



Published on February 20, 2015
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